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Harangue 2 reviews

"a great display of international talent and collaboration. earsay has once again produced a compact disc of superb quality and musical interest." [Computer Music Journal, No. 28, Vol.1, spring 2004]

Various Artists: Harangue II

George Zahora,
A year ago, when I reviewed
Harangue I, I had high hopes that the folks at Earsay would be able to maintain their high level of confrontational quality until Harangue II hit the figurative stands. And now, not to put too fine a point on it, Harangue II walks among us. The second volume is more aggressive, and perhaps less conventionally "musical" than its predecessor; if you need to cling to conventional forms of melody, you'll find the going hard. The disc opens with "STRINGendo", a multi-level MIDI manipulation of strings by Rainer Burck, Earsay's newest signing. You'll hear familiar bowed tones transmuted into a series of crashing, tearing and shattering textures that, while abrupt and sometimes alarming, will be oddly familiar to anyone who grew up with the palpable orchestral violence of "Tom and Jerry" cartoons. The always exceptional Hildegard Westerkamp paints a sonic picture of Delhi from ambient noise and shimmering synthesized notes, juxtaposing unearthly beauty with earthy reality. Earsay founder John Oliver's "scintilla", excerpted next, bristles with synthesized energy and immediacy; formed from MIDI guitar, synth and samples, it seethes with unpredictability, rather like an arcing current modeled in audio form. On Damian Keller's "...soretes de punta", Earsay artists' apparent fascination with the percussive and rhythmic aspects of rainfall is once again given voice, this time focusing on paired falling objects and their sonic similarities to precipitation. Earsay's Andrew Czink closes the disc, first with his own ravenously self-consuming "Devour", which will drive caffeine addicts over the edge and into insanity with its endless biological tone-recycling, and then teamed with Giorgio Magnanesi on "MU", a heavily-processed and endlessly involving piano/DJ confrontation so frenetic it will give you the shakes. Once again, Earsay has delivered some of the most challenging and rewarding electro-acoustic material available, and I unreservedly recommend it to thinking listeners everywhere.

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